The long-term impacts and costs of Ebola on the Sierra Leonean health sector
A study that estimates the future costs of EVD on the Sierra Leonean health sector
The study estimates the future costs of EVD on the Sierra Leonean health sector to range between 9.0 and 19.4 per cent of today’s GDP. While the highest costs are incurred for a 15-year recovery trajectory, amounting to 15.5 and 19.4 per cent of today’s GDP, respective of which baseline is chosen; the cost for a 10-year recovery are significantly lower, at 9.0 and 11.3 per cent of today’s GDP respectively. An even shorter recovery trajectory of five years lowers the sectoral costs to 4.1 and 5.1 per cent of GDP. These findings emphasise the need to address the impact of EVD on the health sector in a timely manner, thereby lowering the future cost to be incurred.
Further supporting the call to immediate action, the costing model reveals that assuming a longer recovery period of 10- to 15-years, the majority of the cost of EVD on the health sector are yet to be incurred in the years to come. Hence, the effects and impacts of EVD on the health sector, through non-treatment of other diseases and an overall decrease in health service uptake and quality, are forecast to result in substantial costs in the future.
The costing model suggests that in future years, the costs directly incurred by EVD range from 8.3 to 10.2 per cent of the overall health sector cost. In contrast, the cost of HIV/AIDS and malaria are forecast to account for a maximum of 60 and 28 per cent of the overall cost respectively. Therefore, the impact of EVD on the overall health care system, rather than the cost of EVD itself, drives future costs to the health sector.